I just read a post by a young person titled, "Why I Deleted my Instagram", she said she wanted more control over her choices, to be free to develop into the best she could. I wish her well. I have known people who have deleted their Facebook accounts for similar reasons, I wish them well also. But these choices leave me wondering: what makes social media effective? Why do some people perceive social media has become a controlling factor in their lives instead of them being in control of their social media? Is social media really a means to see what is trending, and to let it guide our activities? To be sure that we are keeping up with, or even passing the Jones's or Smith's? If that is how we perceive it, perhaps these people have been right to delete their accounts. But if we choose to remain in control, to use social media, not to shape our activities tokeep up, but to share positive ideas, to develop skills that we are struggling with, to give us new ways to evaluate life's choices then that is when social media plays an important and valuable role in our lives and rightfully deserves to remain a part of our lives. As I wrote in an earlier post, I have decided to write a book, and I have found Instagram to be valuable in developing my ability to build believable characters and to describe scenes. One interesting thought hit me as I was considering a photo to go with this post. Where does what we read fall into this discussion? Books are another form of media which impacts our life choices and therefore our development. It is true that we generally don't interact with authors the way we do with others on social media, but more and more I see authors inviting readers to send them emails or follow them and join their readers group on Facebook, so there's a connection to a degree. Where we fall in our views and uses of social media may be influenced by our age or maturity as much or more than it is by peer pressure. What role should peer pressure have? Can peer pressure be helpful? Or is it always a detriment to be avoided? Perhaps those questions are best left to psychologists rather than a 66 year old insomniac!

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Mike Lyles

Author of “The Drive-Thru is Not Always Faste...

Staresville, United States